Injured by guest's toddler

We have just completed four weeks of hosting, are enjoying ourselves, and learning a lot swiftly. The best lesson learned is to not break our own rules, no matter how mean it makes us feel. We accepted a 2 night booking from someone who claimed to be a family of three, including a nine year old daughter, illustrated by her profile photo. Having accepted the booking (on a phone, in the pub…) we received another family photo showing her son, a sizeable toddler. He had not shown up in the original booking, possibly because she claimed he was under two. I emailed her back to say that ordinarily we don’t accept children under 12 or under 2yrs, which is clear on our listing and in our house rules. I gave her explicit detail why not, i.e. that the house is 250 years old, has twisty, steep staircases, steep steps up into the garden and a drop into the courtyard. Having already accepted the booking, I asked her to supervise her children carefully, and to keep them away from our aged cats. I had a very terse response of one liners: that they are a good team, not to worry. They arrived early, just as we were about to have a late lunch, which we had to put on hold. I was languidly asked what the dangers were, and told that these were not an issue, and they had their own cats the kids were great with, amidst much gushing about what a lovely house we have. To cut a torrid story short, they failed to supervise their son in any measure, culminating in him rushing down stairs the following morning, stumbling halfway down. Twice! The first time, whilst they were eating breakfast alone, his mother heard and just caught him just in time. Fortunately (for them at least) I was close by the second time, heard him, turned around and caught him before he hit his head on the marble floor tiles or granite work surface. I caught him awkwardly; he was really heavy for a supposed less-than-two year old and I have been in pain ever since, having aggravated an old whiplash and lower back injury. Dad came down quickly after I shouted up the stairs, but no apology whatsoever, merely “oh, I have a bad back; I’ve had surgery twice”. They left the following day and she swiftly posted a terrible review, trashing the house, too many house rules, the location ( roads too narrow! In a small, rural village…). Gloriously, she went into public detail about how the house is definitely NOT suitable for children, which enabled me to enjoy responding how we are clear on our listing, and in the house rules, about why it is not suitable.

I will stop ranting, except to say that she left a pile of soiled nappies (diapers) in the bathroom, not even tying the bags up. She merely had to ask on arrival about disposal and more bags. Needless to say, I have not recommended her to other hosts and kept to the facts.


Oh dear. I know as new hosts, we are keen to accommodate guests, but as you said, we soon learn.

Next time don’t be afraid to ask Airbnb to cancel the booking if it breaks your house rules ie no babies/no under 12’s.

If you have Instant Book you will probably want to remove it, so you can consider each booking on a case by case basis, rather than feeling you have to rush your response.

Hope you feel better soon.


Yes, sometimes bad reviews are a lot of help.

We had one sometime from guests complaining about the size of the room being too small for 3 persons (2 and a toddler) We rented it as a 2P room, and told them it was too small for an extra crib. But they, kept insisting it was not problem and that they were used to having not that much space.
They also complained that they never seen the view of the house that was in the pictures.

I replied that we told them upfront about the size of the room, and it is not suitable for kids especially when people stay in the room the whole day. Also they would have seen the view of the house, if they would have come out of the room and played with their kid in the backyard on our trampoline and swings like I suggested.

So every once in a while a guest mentions this review and how it made them laugh.


Thanks Helsi, and Chris, for your support and advice. We’ll disable instant booking and stick to another lesson learned; don’t respond to bookings whilst in the pub! I’m so glad I found the forum last week, it’s been really informative and helpful.


Joan early on when she was giving you the terse one liners, that was a red flag. Not sure if that was before or after you booked her but you’ll learn to pay attention to those little signs. But even without those signs, you have to trust your gut. You didn’t want to rent to children and the guest badgered you into and then punished you for renting to her when she had children. Even in your response to the bad review, new guests might wonder why you took the guest in the first place if your home was not appropriate. Lots of things to learn!!

I think with a house like this you have to be really firm about what is a fit for YOU.


Right. Take it off IB until you have hosted at least 25 guests.

Oh the nerve of these ungrateful people! My sympathies are with you. Have you contacted Air to see if they will remove the bad review? Even though you accepted the booking against your best judgement, the guests are always responsible for supervising their children and there’s no excuse to leave things in a mess and then leave a review that’s clearly a personal attack in disguise. If I were you, I would call an Air rep and see how things go, it couldn’t get any worse after the fact.

When I read the post title, I thought (referencing another post) “Uh oh, this must not be about a quality baby.”


These people sound like a complete nightmare. Thank you very much for leaving an honest review. I’d be livid about her leaving a bad review although her complaints (narrow roads, rural village!) are so stupid that I’d think prospective guests will be quick to want to dis-identify with such a person.


Indeed I do; sound advice! I’ve looked back over on-line documents and
found that her initial enquiry stated three travellers. After she had
booked/paid, we received the confirmation, which was when we first learned
of the toddler. Then a photo. Quite odd really. I should have cancelled
there and then, and certainly after her sniffy email but these were only
our seventh or eighth guests. On reflection, I had earlier laughed at
realising I can’t be as tough/blunt as I could when a senior ops manager in
the NHS. With this experience under my belt, I will follow my instincts as
I did then. But time moves on, and we’ve just hosted three groups of
lovely people and my faith is restored. And my small, but growing,
reputation, with 3 x 5 star reviews.


More sound advice and my thanks. I will contact Air to see if they’ll
remove it.

That is indeed my hope.

no reason to cancel instant book. The prospective guest by booking agrees to abide by your rules. If they don’t they are in violation which puts you in a good position to have Airbnb remove/ relocate them.

btw, if you respond to a review, the company will not remove it. If you want to have a chance of having it removed (not guaranteed) don’t respond to a bad review.

I am sorry @lahope I don’t agree.

You can have guests who abide by house rules, but for other reasons raise red flags as this guest did, don’t provide a clear photo or completed profile, or as a host you feel aren’t a good fit for your property.

It’s so important for new hosts starting out to be able to vet booking until they become more experienced and comfortable with the process.

The last thing a new host needs is to have cancellation fees and other penalties imposed on them by having to cancel a booking (under Instant Book as you know Airbnb will only let you cancel for free if a guest breaks your house rules).

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This is a safety issue for both yourself, and the toddler. Both of you were put at risk by the guests. You were injured, and the infant was neglected and nearly injured also.

Airbnb moves very quickly on safety related matters. Obviously they do so to protect, but also the threat of publicity and/or potential litigation.

I feel very badly both for what has happened to you, and also for the future prospects of a child with negligent parents.

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Put it in your house rules no children under 2, and don’t waiver. I had a woman instant book with a toddler under 2, she agreed to be my house rules which was no children under 2. Airbnb cancelled the booking, and would not refund her as she broke my house rules which she agreed to adhere to.

We have no children under 12 / 2 in our house rules but she ignored them. The nine year old we could cope with but the supposed under two year old didn’t materialise on the booking. "Three travellers in this group"stated on her initially enquiry and booking. The, after booking, she sent me a photo of all four of them, including the so called toddler. They were our third set of guests and we were green about contacting airbnb, but I made sure I had an audit trail of messages telling her that we didn’t ordinarily host kids and that she needed to supervise them closely.